US could extend laptop ban to flights from UK, European airports
The Trump administration is considering barring passengers flying from Britain and some European airports from carrying laptops in their carry-on baggage.world Updated: Apr 25, 2017 15:34 IST
Nearly a month after banning electronic devices larger than a mobile phone on US-bound flights from eight Muslim-majority countries, the Trump administration is considering barring passengers flying from Britain and some European airports from carrying laptops, according to media reports.
British officials “understand that their US counterparts are looking at extending the ban…to flights from Europe”, The Guardian quoted sources as saying.
A Whitehall source suggested that “although it was not certain that the ban would be extended to the UK, the US was considering doing so”.
The Times too quoted a Whitehall source as saying that British security officials had been alerted that President Donald Trump plans to enforce the laptop ban on flights to the US from some European locations. The measure could be “implemented in just weeks”, the report said.
The US surprised airlines by imposing the ban in March for flights from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries, including Amman, Istanbul, Riyadh, Kuwait City and Dubai. Passengers on flights from the affected airports were required to stow their electronic devices in checked-in baggage.
The measure affected thousands of Indians and other travellers who fly to the US every month via airports in the Middle East.
The ban in March affected countries that are allies of the US. None of them were covered by the Trump administration’s attempts to ban travellers from six other Muslim-majority nations.
American officials told a news briefing the ban last month was imposed after intelligence reports suggested terrorists could smuggle explosive devices in “various consumer items”. The ban will remain in place till October.
The Guardian report it was not immediately clear why US authorities could extend the ban on large electronic devices such as tablets and laptops to flights from European airports.
The UK too banned large electronic devices on flights from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey.
Some experts have questioned why the US restrictions affected only Middle Eastern airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways, which have been accused by US airlines of benefiting from government subsidies.